Courage, compassion, judgment and generosity were recognized the American Red Cross Real Heroes Breakfast on Thursday.
When Kris Langton heard news of the March 22 Oso mudslide, he raced from the Arlington side of the disaster on Highway 530 toward his home west of Darrington. Rushing to reach his family, he left his car and waded through mire that was soon hip-deep. He could hear rescue helicopters overhead. In a Herald story three days later, he recalled coming upon a mother and baby trapped in muck and flagging down others to come to their aid. Amanda Skorjanc and her infant son, Duke Suddarth, were flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
Langton also heard mudslide survivor Tim Ward crying out. Ward was badly injured and trapped in a debris pile 600 yards from where his Steelhead Drive home had stood. Ward’s wife, Brandy, had died. When Langton heard Ward’s calls, he was about 100 yards from the trapped man. He couldn’t see Ward but told him to signal. When Ward held up a scrap of sheet metal, it took Langton an hour to reach him. Langton waved down a Navy rescue helicopter. Rescuers used a chain saw to free Ward, who was also was rushed to Harborview by air. Langton’s tenacity saved his life.
Kristy Kentch, Shoshana Pearlman, Ryan French, Trevor Thomas, Billy Wheeler
Cameron Stevens was a 24-year-old youth pastor playing basketball with co-workers from Calvary Everett Church when he collapsed at the Everett YMCA. It was Nov. 19, 2013. Friends Billy Wheeler, the church pastor, and church worker Trevor Thomas immediately called 911. They initiated CPR and alerted YMCA staff. As Stevens’ vitals began to fade, Kristy Kentch, the Everett Y’s membership coordinator, Ryan French, another Y staff member, and Shoshana Pearlman, then the Y’s aquatics coordinator, quickly brought an automated external defibrillator and performed CPR to keep Stevens alive. First, Kentch and French treated Stevens for seizure, but he did not respond. With the AED and CPR, they revived his heart and sustained it until Everett Fire Department paramedics arrived. Cameron was treated for a heart condition at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett. He also struggled with pneumonia. After a long recovery, the Lake Stevens High School graduate is now well. He and his wife are new parents.
Edmonds Police Cpl. Ken Crystal, Officer Earl Yamane
Edmonds police were first on the scene after a report of smoke coming from inside a condominium on April 21, 2013. When Cpl. Ken Crystal and Officer Earl Yamane arrived, smoke was spewing from the condo building. One resident had seen a man, apparently unconscious, on the kitchen floor of an adjoining unit. Although fire crews hadn’t arrived, the officers decided to enter the burning, smoke-filled home. Crystal and Yamane found the 67-year-old man on the floor covered in soot.
After bringing him out of the condo, they went back in to make sure no one else was in danger. Then, quickly, Crystal began CPR. Soon they had help from paramedics from Edmonds Station 17, part of Snohomish County Fire District 1. The rescued man was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Medics confirmed that without police intervention he wouldn’t have survived. The fire was caused by papers too close to a kitchen burner.
Andrea and Jerry Dinsmore
Jerry and Andrea Dinsmore are “trail angels,” people who help hikers along the Pacific Crest Trail. The trail covers 2,663 miles through the Cascades and Sierra Nevada range, from Canada to Mexico. In October 2013, Japanese hiker Takahisa “Taka” Nezu stopped at the couple’s Baring home, which they call Dinsmores’ Hiker Haven. Nezu, 37, was on his way through the Glacier Peak Wilderness to Stehekin on Lake Chelan.
Knowing what mountain conditions are like in October, the retired couple insisted Nezu pack extra food. After he set out, an early snowstorm hit. Worried, the Dinsmores kept track of him through hiker reports and calls to the post office in Stehekin. When he was four days overdue, they alerted authorities. He was spotted, stranded on a snowfield, by a Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue helicopter crew. Volunteers from the Everett Mountain Rescue Unit were being deployed along the trail when Nezu was found — short on provisions and waving a makeshift flag tied to a stick.
On Christmas Day 2013, Scriber Lake High School senior Kallah Hill was celebrating at her mother’s Edmonds home with her mom, Peggy Hill, her twin sister, Tarah, and Chris Peterson, her mother’s boyfriend. Peterson, then a 44-year-old worker at a Seattle shipyard, went to take a nap. He later didn’t respond to efforts to wake him. Kallah, who had taken a class in first aid and CPR, saw that he wasn’t breathing. She started CPR and continued until medics arrived. Peterson recovered at Swedish Edmonds hospital. Despite lingering effects of the cardiac event, he has returned to work. Kallah graduated in June from Scriber Lake. She plans to study early childhood education at Edmonds Community College.
Everett Police Officers Travis Katzer, Geoff Albright and Carl Everett
On July 1, Everett Police Officers Geoffrey Albright, Carl Everett and Travis Katzer were alerted to a collision at a Hardeson Road intersection. Two people riding a motorcycle had been severely injured. A 30-year-old Lynnwood man’s leg was amputated, and an Everett woman, 24, had compound fractures in her lower legs. To stem the bleeding, the officers applied a tourniquet to the amputation wound.
When they saw that the man’s life was still at risk, they applied a second tourniquet. Staff from the Everett Fire Department and Harborview Medical Center in Seattle said that action saved the man’s life.
Clare Waite Humanitarian Award: Coastal Community Bank
Coastal Community Bank has a history of community involvement. Led by employees and CEO Eric Sprink, the bank took extraordinary steps this year related to the March 22 Oso mudslide that killed 43 people.
After the disaster, the bank allowed local employees to work solely on landslide response. Responding to the financial blows experienced by many survivors, the bank forgave auto, home and business loans on property affected by the slide. That decision drew national attention.
The Everett-based bank added extra staff at its Darrington branch and served as a collection point for donations. Coastal employees are still involved in the area’s recovery. They have been advocates and provided investment help. And they are active in many community groups, including the American Red Cross and United Way of Snohomish County.
Spirit of Red Cross Award: Paramedic Shane Cooper
Shane Cooper, a paramedic with Snohomish County Fire District 1, launched an initiative to identify people needing regular assistance. The roving community-based paramedic program prevents emergency medical calls for non-emergency events in south Snohomish County. Cooper identified homes linked to frequent 911 calls. He inspected homes, noting problems that could lead to falls or trigger asthma attacks. The effort builds relationships and connects people with services. During an initial evaluation by Snohomish County Human Services, 911 calls were down 63 percent among 13 patients tracked for three months before and after the program started in January. The effort has also cut health care spending. Cooper has visited homes throughout Snohomish County Fire District 1, which each year gets about 20,000 emergency calls.
To start the program, Fire District 1 received grant money from the Verdant Health Commission. The commission is providing $144,426 a year over two years. The concept of a roving, community-based paramedic has been successful in Canada, Europe and Australia.
The Snohomish-area man sprang into action when he saw a little boy fall into a river. Read more about Ryner here.